The New England Patriots went from pretender to contender real quick this season when the defense started picking things up.
Bill Belichick’s crew began the season with a 2-4 record and they’re now sitting at 7-4 with ten days until the next game. Mac Jones has been spectacular for a rookie, but he isn’t the biggest story from Foxborough. Led by playmakers on all levels of this defensive group, the Patriots have allowed only 13 points over the past three games.
In the 25-0 shutout against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night, the Patriots totaled four sacks and four interceptions — one of them resulting in a touchdown. Matt Ryan’s offense recorded a measly 156 total yards and running backs only had 40.
The Athletic’s Jeff Howe put things into perspective with how suffocating this group has been in recent history.
The Patriots entered the game with the second-least points scored on them per game (17.7) behind the Buffalo Bills (15), and that average dropped following the game.
J.C. Jackson recorded his sixth interception of the season and Devin McCourty grabbed his second. Matthew Judon had a sack and pushed his season total to 10.5, while Kyle Van Noy had two sacks and a 30-yard pick-six.
Young playmakers like Christian Barmore and Kyle Dugger are making their imprint on the game as well — both playing key roles within the group. Jones and Rhamondre Stevenson are two of the best offensive rookies and their main job is to just pour on enough points to stay above the defense — which they’ve done with ease.
The Patriots are heating up at the perfect time and this mid-November push is looking extremely familiar for a Belichick-coached team.
Winners and losers from Patriots’ suffocating win over Falcons